I went into town today to check my mail and to look for frames for the toilet room pictures. En route, I saw two hitchhikers on Front Street looking for a ride south. It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon and I found myself thinking “Gee, I wouldn’t mind having an excuse to run to the Dempster corner and back…” And just then I caught a glimpse of their sign. It said… Dempster Corner.
I pulled over to get a feel for them and to assess how much gear they had. They were a French couple, him from Quebec, her from France, with two huge packs, a smaller bag, a guitar case, and a very large dog. I figured we could just squeeze into the car. So, I told them to hang on while I ran my errands and that I would be back for them shortly.
We had a great (if cramped!) drive down as they regaled me with tales of their adventures. Last year, the guy came to Dawson and hitchhiked across the Top of the World Highway, getting stranded for five days! He ran out of water and after two very thirsty days he began to prepare for the worst, writing out his last wishes in marker on his air mattress. Shortly thereafter, he was picked up by a wonderful elderly couple that took him into Dawson and insisted on giving him $100 to help him out!
Another thing we discussed was the state of hitchhiking in Canada. Both are like me–they would never hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers anywhere else but in the Yukon, and especially not in northern BC along the Yellowhead highway! But it’s part of the culture here and everyone does it then pays it forward or has it paid forward.
The pair was heading up into the Tombstone mountains to hike and I would have been tempted to drive them to the trailhead had the Dempster not been closed due to flooding. I’m two weeks ahead of my trip to Inuvik and have already conceded that the trip is most likely to NOT happen. 🙁 It’s hard to be optimistic when faced with reality.